European Soccer

A look back at Barcelona's 6-2 mauling of Real Madrid

Thierry Henry (Reuters)

Maybe you don't have GolTV, or maybe you just had other things to do on Saturday. Whatever the reason, if you missed Barcelona's 6-2 thrashing of Real Madrid you missed a performance for the ages.

No, Barcelona blowing an opponent out is nothing new, but doing it to Real Madrid at the Bernabeu with the La Liga title basically on the line makes the six-pack that much more impressive.

In case you missed the match, and the eight goals, here are the highlights. Enjoy:

What did you think of Barcelona's performance? Surprised Real Madrid didn't put up more of a fight? Think Chelsea will be able to hold off Barcelona's potent attack for a second straight match in the Champions League semifinals?

Share your thoughts below.

  • AltiCooper

    My mouth is watering at the thought of them vs Man U. Messi Ronaldo Rooney Henry Eto Xavi all on the same field will be sick


  • David

    …and to think Bernd Schuster basically got fired for saying Madrid can’t beat Barca- given the result they probably did him a favor!


  • Charley

    i’m saying it. titles or no titles, this has to be one of the greatest teams in the history of the game.

    the beautiful game at its finest.


  • Oog

    Terrible goal keeping by madrid…. All around pretty bad defense. Left Messi unmarked for most of his goals. Well, you can’t argue with results though.


  • blaugranasfo

    An absolutely unbelievable performance. I’m sure Guus and Chelsea, if they thought for a moment to open up the attack at the Bridge, are now going back to bunker mode. La Liga rules!


  • Michael

    For those of you who have FSC, but no GolTV, FSC will be replaying El Clasico on Friday as part of their deal where they always show Barca’s previous games from the week before. These highlights are nice, but they don’t really do the performance justice considering who it was against and what was on the line, and where it was taking place. Just amazing.


  • Bentham

    Oog – If you actually watched the game, Casillas was making tremendous saves in the first half. I remember thinking at one point that the game easily could have been 10 or 11-2, if he hadn’t been standing on his head early on. I will grant you that Casillas did seem to let down a little (the team as a whole became kind of dispirited) as the game wore on in the second half.


  • World Soccer Fans Unite!

    Real, but maybe both teams, really left the back door wide open and I don’t think you’ll see much of that from Chelsea or the other top EPL teams. In fact the teams being relegated out of the Premiership would have made these goals all much harder. These were mostly La Liga goals. It seems like the defensive vulnerability is is the flipside of a style of play La Liga fans.

    Or maybe that’s all hooey and Barcelona can score six against top EPL sides. The Champions League is a great chance to see.

    I’d say even money going into the 2nd half of the Chelsea – Barcelona tie


  • wally

    annoying highlights. showing none of the buildup, just the final strike, and five minutes of hugging after the goals.


  • snedecor

    the key was on the midfield, Real Madrid played with only two guys (Lass Diarra and Gago) and Barça with 3 (Xavi, Iniesta and Toure), or even four because Messi was around there almost all the game. Real’s defense was always out of position because one of the centerbacks had always to help his midfielders. And Raul, Robben and Marcelo didn’t help on defense, and that’s all, simple but effective. On wednesday it won’t be that easy, Chelsea plays with Mikel, Essien, Ballack and Lampard and Barça won’t have as many spaces to play as they had last saturday


  • TheJester525

    as much as having barca in the finals seems like it would be more exciting, it feels like all epl teams will play defensively against them, and understandably so. An all English final seems to promise more attacking play by both sides.

    But hopefully I’m proven wrong.


  • PetedeLA

    I agree with the World Soccer Fan. Some Keystone Cop defending mars this for me. Until Sergio Ramos figures out the idea of staying back to defend, he would never be in my backline.


  • Tony

    That game should be mandatory viewing for all coaches/players coming through the USSF system. Sure the defense was lacking at times but the beauty, movement and skill was second to none. A wonderful display of what the game is and should be.


  • elmatador

    For the good of Soccer, for the good of the game, the fans who love this sport, Barcelona has to beat Chelsea. Unbelievable performace by Barcelona a class act…Blaugrana For ever!!!


  • Chase

    Poor goalkeeping? Casillas had several good saves that prevent Barca from scoring 10. He was let down by horrendous midfield play and a defense that gave up once, Barca went up 4-2.


  • Hector

    Guardiola had a huge part in winning the game with an amazing tactical decision.

    Juande put Heinze as left back and Marcelo, a natural fullback, as a “left winger” but actually he was playing two left backs to attempt to contain that vaunted Messi/Alves wing. On Madrid’s right was the overrated Sergio Ramos and the allergic to defense Robben, leaving Diarra and Gago in the middle of the park with the assignment to mark Xavi and Iniesta out of the game.

    What Guardiola did was move Messi to the center as a “false 9”, switching him with Eto, thus leaving Heinze and Marcelo with nothing to do. Eto took one for the team, making runs and being a nuisance but essentially being a decoy, keeping two Madrid players out of the game. Meanwhile Messi, Xavi and Iniesta formed a triangle in the middle of Madrid’s half, outnumbering Gago and Diarra and driving them crazy. Messi settled in between Gago and the Madrid CB’s (think Gerrard 09) and got looks in space against the Madrid CB’s. Messi vs Cannavaro and Metzelder in space = no contest. Meanwhile, Gago and Diarra were busy trying unsuccessfully to mark Iniesta and Xavi who were able to pass the ball around them since they (with Messi and Yaya) outnumbered them.

    This also left Sergio Ramos isolated against Henry because we all know defending is below Robben, a matchup that in theory should have been a toss-up but ended up with Henry victimizing Ramos. While this was going on, Higuain and Raul were isolated and starved for service up top.

    Shitty tactical response by Juande. THAT’s why you sacrifice attack and park the bus against Barca. You play 2 or 3 attackers instead of just one (like Chelsea did with Drogba) and you will get killed. EVERYBODY must defend against Barca to have a chance to win. A problem with this is that if RM parked the bus in its own stadium, they would have been booed off their own turf. This is typical of the Spanish game were style and beauty count. I doubt the pragmatist Brits will mind parking the bus at the Bridge. The problem if they do so is that one gritty scrappy goal by Barca and they will have to open up and attack with a line-up not best suited to do so, leaving space for the Barca magicians to work their magic.


  • Josh

    Great post, Hector.

    I, for one, couldn’t be happier about this result. I just hope Barca thrashes Chelsea this week.


  • DC Josh

    Watching Barca play this year has made my jaw drop more times than I can remember. They play perfect, technical, beautiful soccer. I’ll take their ability to pass the ball in the net over a 35 yard laser forever!

    I don’t see how they aren’t in the top 5 best clubs of all time.


  • PetedeLA

    I like your analysis Hector. I agree with everything.

    I still think a huge catalyst to RM’s demise was the fact that Sergio Ramos wanted vengeance for getting beat on the first goal, and tried to make up for it by contributing to the attack.

    But at the end of the day, as your tactical analysis points out, RM just weren’t savvy enough to deal with some of the astute tactical adjustments Barcelona made.

    Xavi’s passing is just……SICK.

    Also….. is it just me or does it not look like Messi is debating whether or not to nutmeg Casillas for his last goal? After a fraction of a second of intense thought, he changes his mind to go for the near post with the outside of his boot.


  • Pico

    Hey Hector,

    That was a great tactical move by Guardiola. I think Juande tried to use some of the Valencia game plan (take the game to Barcelona,) but unfortunately he does not have the horses at RM. Real also tried to shrink the field and played with a very high back line and they paid for it in goals 1, 4, and 6.

    The video does not make any justice to what took place in the field. Like one of the feeds said, it was football poetry for all who love the sport.



  • Hector

    Agreed Pico. The difference with Valencia besides the horses is that IMO, Silva, Mata, and Pablo Hernandez did an amazing job of defending and pressuring. On the other hand, Raul, Higuain, and Robben did a pitiful job of helping out their midfield in that department.

    Try watching the replay on FSC this Firday or catch a longer better clip on youtube. This truly was poetry in motion.


  • JoeW

    1. Hector–quality post–well done.

    2. Casillas is not a poor GK. And if you do more than watch the highlights you see he did some fine work this game. Great attackers can make any GK look bad.

    3. Real Madrid looked bad on defense because they were at home and expected to attack (and then got behind and had to push forward even more–can you imagine the fans if RM had kept 9 guys back most of the game?).

    4. Yeah, I give Chelsea a good chance of advancing. But to argue they play “better” defense is a bit misleading. They refuse to play Barcelona at their game. They want to deny space and time on the ball, keep numbers back. We’re watching one of the all-time great club teams in the history of world soccer this season. You cannot argue that Barcelona is achieving this results in an inferior league (or one that allows them to focus just on the CL) or that they’ve had no worthy opponents. Regardless of how the CL turns out, to me, Barcelona is the world’s best team with their consistent showing.


  • TwistedTidings

    The sad thing is that, for all this brilliance, Barca will need to do even more to beat Chelsea. As a fan, I wish these matches were decided more by brilliance than grit, but that’s not always the case, and Chelsea has frustrated Barca before. My eyes have seen enough out of this Barcelona to think that they’re one of the best teams ever, but can my head really believe that if they don’t handle Chelsea this week?


  • HE from NJ

    i just hope we can do the same thing against chelsea!

    thx for the highlights, i was out of town this weekend. sweet goals.



  • loxx

    Taking nothing away from Barcelona, but man, some pretty lazy defense on several of the Barca goals. I’d expect to see defensive lapses like that on a bottom-feeder MLS team, but at this level? Then again, I don’t know alot about the style of play of La liga – maybe this is pretty common defending.


  • Pico

    JoeW and Twisted,

    Although Chelsea has better physical players than RM that will allow them to pressure the Barcelona players, they have a similar dilemma as Real did this past weekend. a) Do they sit back like in the away game in hopes to counter or b) do they come out to attack? Not necessarily in their usual 4-3-3 but in a 4-4-2.

    This is one of those rare moments that I really wish that the team that plays the best technical football wins.


    One simple explanation could be the level that Barcelona is playing right now can make most defenses look pathetic. And one of the reasons why most newspapers in countries where technical football is played are lauding the latest display by Barça. It is just an unbelievable display by footballers who have taken the art to another plateau.



  • snedecor

    thanks Hector for your tactical explanation, it’s more or less what I wanted to say with my poor English😛


  • Hector

    This is gonna be a very interesting game and is FAR from decided. A 0-0 draw heading into a second leg against a team (Barca) that has shown the grit to only lose ONE away game all year in all competitions (their first league game, ironically enough) is far from the sure thing a sizeable portion of the Brit press seems to think it is.

    Chelsea has the perfect personnel to park the bus against Barcelona. Obi Mikel, Ballack, and Essien can break up play and be defensive as well as if not better than any midfield in the world. Lampard is also a physical box to box player who defends. The problem that Barca presents, however, is a catch 22. If Hiddink again floods the midfield with the aforementioned four and has Malouda helping out against Alves and Messi with Drogba as the lone forward, he is hoping for a lucky long ball or horrible mistake by Barca’s defense. Those are minimal chances of scoring (although Barca will have either a non-natural CB or a raw as sushi Caceres playing with Puyol suspended) which may be key. On the other hand, he adds width by playing two real wingers up front to support Drogba and he gives not just Chelsea but also Barca some space, and we all saw what that can mean.

    Its too close to call but with Barca nothing will surprise me. Just know that all their losses this season have come by one goal. It WILL be close.


  • Turtle

    Chelsea will not have the balls to attack. An open game will be disasterous for them. They know for every gaol conceded they will need to match it plus an additional. While trying to score they’ll only give up more goals themselves. The only way they get out of that tie is through PKs. Or bunker and hope for the miracle goal.

    Hector great post.


  • Dominghosa

    This is what happens when a team actually tries to play football/futbol/soccer with the Blaugrana.


  • TwistedTidings

    Was it 2004 when a talented Barca and solid Chelsea met in a similar situation? Barca had been largely frustrated in the first leg, having all the possession in the world but without that last killer pass. Chelsea was supposedly impregnable. Barca, however, was unstoppable and put two past them on the road. Unfortunately, Chelsea somehow put four past Barca and took the tie.

    This is probably a stronger Barca and a weaker Chelsea, but that series reminds me a lot of this one. I don’t like watching defensive football, but I’ve got to give it credit when it works. That said… go Barca!


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